Almost 300 authors sign up to participate in 'Indies First' effort

Writer Sherman Alexie asked other authors to work at an indie bookstore on Small Business Saturday this year and hundreds of other writers have already pledged their support.

Ann Hermes
Patrons Tammy Heupels (l.) and her son Johann (center) sit with Bank Square Books owner Annie Philbrick in the reading area of the store. Bank Square Books is located in Mystic, Conn.

Following “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” author Sherman Alexie’s call to fellow authors to work at an independent bookstore on Small Business Saturday, almost 300 writers have signed up to participate.

Alexie wrote a letter in September asking authors to come out and sell books at their local independent bookstore as part of a movement that he's calling Indies First. Indies First is an effort to promote independent bookstores on Small Business Saturday, an annual event begun in 2010 to promote small local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year Small Business Saturday will fall on Nov. 30. 

“Now is the time to be a superhero for independent bookstores,” the author wrote at the time. “We book nerds will become booksellers…. The most important thing is that we’ll all be helping Independent bookstores, and God knows they’ve helped us over the years.”

According to the American Booksellers Association – which says that Indies First is "brand new and moving fast" – more than 285 authors have signed up to sell books on that Saturday. Writer Wiley Cash will be working at North Carolina store Pomegranate Books, while James Patterson will be popping up at Florida store Classic Bookshop and writer David Small will be a staff member at the Michigan indie Lowry’s Books and More, to name only a few.

According to the ABA, the website IndieBound.org will soon be posting a map of participating stores so book lovers can find a location near them.

Will the effort have an effect on indies’ sales for the day? We’ll have to wait and see.

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